Spirit of the Magpie - A screening with live soundtrack by Alice Cohen
July 21, 2016
Experimental animator and musician Alice Cohen launches a new DVD with an evening of live music and projections. The work “Spirit of the Magpie: Hidden Keys to the Scavenger’s Scrapbook" invokes the magpie as totem spirit animal of collage artists, visual and sonic improvisors, and all who collect and repurpose the unwanted castoffs of others. The audiovisual trance journey features the stopmotion animation of Alice Cohen accompanied by an improvised live soundtrack from guest musicians and performers Adrian Knight and David Lackner. Lauds (Genevieve Kammel Morris) will also perform “Aviary” after the screening.
Known to be scavengers with a love for collecting shiny objects, magpies will often steal rings and other glittering jewelry that have been left on windowsills. They have much lore connected to them, and are sometimes regarded as bearers of ill omen, as well as being associated with the devil. There are rituals, poems and salutations to the magpie, to ward off their devilish influence. They are also the only bird species and one of only a few animal species that can recognize their own reflection in a mirror.
When we search sidewalks or junk shops for hidden treasures, we are embodying the magical soul of the magpie. This attraction to forgotten ephemera… antiquated inks on rotting papers… old crackling records and musty cassettes… falls into the realm of the magpie as spirit guide, as we rescue lost remnants from a world that perpetually erases the past, while becoming increasingly stark and sanitized. The mirrored reflection of the magpie becomes a liminal space for shapeshifting identities through the transformational use of found and rescued objects, images and sounds.